Kim, CMO

The Problem
  • I don’t have data across all customer channels to determine buying trends.
  • Reporting is limited to single systems and improving loyalty is difficult.
  • Negative reviews are piling up because of poor system communication.
  • Clients are leaving for more tech-savvy competition and new customer acquisition is slowing.

As CMO, my role is to bring in as many opportunities as I can through as many channels as can be leveraged. Traditionally, we have divided our sales goals into four categories: new and existing clients in our B2B division, and new and existing in our B2C division, all with distinct marketing strategies. Today we are experimenting with a fifth division: social media. Our competitors are using Facebook and Instagram to drive sales, and we have recently implemented a project to sell items on Facebook as well which represents our largest social media market.

The problem I encounter the most is lack of visibility across these channels into customer buying trends. Yes, we are struggling with data and inventory issues as well: since our Facebook sales feed opened, we’ve oversold items several times because we have too many manual inventory management processes. This lead to very late shipping dates and negative reviews, and those make each of my next sales more difficult. But most critically, I need a 360° view of the client and access to their entire buying cycle from every possible angle in order to keep up with my competitors, who are certainly outpacing us in that category. For example, it wasn’t possible to launch automated email marketing campaigns based on a complete purchase history; we had an integration to the website sales history, but couldn’t pull in-store purchase from the ERP. The customer experience was suffering for our existing clients.

It was worse in new client acquisition. We were attempting to leverage Marketo and a new Account-Based Marketing tool, but the integration roadmap was longer and more expensive than the implementation of the products themselves, still only gave me partial data, and a LinkedIn integration seemed impossible. I was going to overpay and get less than what I needed. Our Salesforce integration to our ERP is terrible, and the cost of adding new products on the Salesforce side is skyrocketing. They approached us with their Mulesoft integration suite and it’s so far out of budget I can’t even consider it. Our CFO was tightening budgets everywhere due to tech spend bloat, but I felt like that was exactly the wrong strategy. But every day we were losing opportunities and I was powerless to improve my visibility.

The one thing our CFO and I did agree on is that neither one of us had the data we needed to excel at our roles. Every new system added, every new solution implemented to augment sales cadence, customer outreach, or new channel sales made us just a little more blind. There was no report that could tell me everything a customer purchased or a way to use that information to improve their loyalty. Manual inventory processes created silos in every division and complicated access for each channel, and it made merchandising more complicated than it already was. We were frozen and simply put, we were guessing everywhere.

I was struggling to tell a content and PR story about a company that cares so much about its customers while it increasingly failed to meet their expectations, and was getting worse rather than better. I knew that if we didn’t make a move quickly, we were going to lose customers at an accelerated rate. Frustrations across our 5 channels led to negative reviews, and new client acquisition was slowing. At this trajectory, I couldn’t stretch what positivity we had to cover the growing negativity, and there was no plan to fix it or foreseeable future to wrap PR around. The very last story you want to tell as CMO is “I’m sorry.”

The Solution
  • All data in one place means a 360° view of the customer I need to make decisions.
  • Clean data into Marketo means holiday campaigns and retargets are successful.
  • A new application that gives customers more visibility into their history, loyalty, and other promotions mean better customer experience.
  • The kind of positive PR story I have always wanted to tell, with the positive reviews to back it.

Then our CFO brought in a new CIO and with him came I am not a technologist, so I didn’t fully understand how adding yet another tech solution wasn’t going to just complicate my life more, but I was willing to try anything. And within weeks I could see how this new integration platform was going to completely change how we did business.

The integrations came one at a time; they removed the point-to-point scripts and starting running them all directly into the iPaaS, which meant that it housed all our data in one place. Finally! No more inventory nightmares between channel, and complete visibility to customer buying patterns. Now I could get clean data into Marketo and launch a holiday marketing campaign and make adjustments before the big one in December with confidence we could deliver.

I’d been discussing a new mobile application with our retail operations director that our B2B and B2C clients could access, and this had been a pipe dream until now. But with we are now confidently evaluating application partners that will open up unprecedented access and features, such as client visibility to their own purchase history for reordering, writing product reviews, managing loyalty, and even the ability to track and return shipments. This is the kind of impressive tool that can organize informed action across departments which wasn’t a remote possibility before It’s the same suite of apps, and the same people - the same us - but the outcomes have changed. Now I can once again tell an honest story of innovation and industry leadership.

At this trajectory, I couldn’t stretch what positivity we had to cover the growing negativity, and there was no plan to wrap PR around.

But it’s not just about one department...keep reading!

Retail Operations

Now that I can enact state-of-the-industry retail strategies, we can tell the kind of story that is a dream come true for marketing.

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Once we solved the dataflow issues, I could then believe the CMO vision was achievable. Budgets open up for predictable growth.

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Marketing and sales suffer as much as any other department when they don’t have the data they need. iPaaS and I were happy to help.

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